Futurology - Physical Technology - Computers and Printers

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Despite it being only 25 years since 3.5 inch floppy disks, dial up modems and Atari were mainstream, in terms of technology these now seem prehistoric.

Computers can now process enormous amounts of data in very short timeframes and printers can produce three dimensional objects. If the capabilities and affordability of these items continue to evolve at this rate, it is fair to expect the near future will be further revolutionised.

Computers now process big data, write algorithms, drive cars, fly drones, and are becoming artificially intelligent. Computers can be programmed to complete tasks that humans currently do, at a level not all humans are capable of. This is being utilised in agriculture, where computers can analyse soil conditions and provide the exact amount of water and fertilizer. This leads to a reduction in the amount of both water and fertilizer, and better crop yields, with up to a 70% increase in agricultural output can be achieved for a significant reduction in costs.

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Printers are now more than the whirring machine in the corner of the office. The advent and capabilities of three-dimensional printing will continue to revolutionise the manufacturing and distribution of goods. Three dimensional printers can work in plastic, metal, glass and ceramic, meaning many objects can be supported by this technology. For example, after breaking a glass or vase or losing a knife or fork, imaging simply using a three-dimensional printer to create a replacement.

The technology isn’t only applicable for small objects either, houses have been built by three dimensional printers in both London and in China. Recently in China, a modest house was printed in one day for the cost of US$5,000.

To learn what’s next in the rapid world of technology, contact Tony Crabb, National Director, Research.

Read more of Cushman & Wakefield’s Futurology series, click here.